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First Read Flash: Spy games

Snowden under fire.
In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images)
In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong.

Snowden under fire. "Counterintelligence investigators are scrutinizing how" 29-year-old contractor Edward Snowden "who said he leaked top-secret National Security Agency documents was able to gain access to what should be highly compartmentalized information, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials," the Washington Post reports. "Investigators are 'working with the NSA and others around the intelligence community to understand exactly what information this individual had access to, and how that individual was able to take that information outside the community,' a senior U.S. intelligence official said." ABC News reports that federal investigators "are not totally convinced that Snowden worked alone." NBC News has more on what we know about Snowden so far.

State department allegations. NBC News has obtained documents related to ongoing investigations into some disturbing allegations involving state department personnel, security agents attached to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - and at least one ambassador. An October memo from the State Department's Inspector General says the ambassador in question "routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children."  The memo also says a top state department official directed department investigators to "cease the investigation" into the ambassador's conduct. Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the State Department's inspector general told CBS News, "We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases....We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing."

First Flash: DSCC hits candidates on equal pay. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is hitting GOP candidates on paycheck fairness in releases set to go out today in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. In one release targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), DSCC spokeswoman Regan Page says:  "You would think equal pay for equal work would be a no brainer but that’s clearly not the case for Republicans like Mitch McConnell...Equal pay is not just about fairness and equality for women, it also has a serious consequences for the Kentucky economy." Similar releases will also hit candidates and potential candidates in other top Senate races, including Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C)., and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).